‘Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete.’
– Myoan Eisai, Kissa Yojoki: How to Stay Healthy By Drinking Tea
The positive effects felt by Zen monks and Samurai warriors many centuries ago, and so intuitively felt to be health benefits associated with drinking matcha tea, are now being supported by modern science.
All green tea is high in antioxidants due to its lack of processing; the reason matcha is considered such a powerhouse of health is because the entire leaf is consumed in the powder form, making it the most potent of all the green teas.
Matcha contains small amounts of various vitamins and minerals, but is most prized for being rich in polyphenol compounds called catechins, a type of antioxidant. Because matcha is made from ground up whole tea leaves, it is a more potent source of catechins than standard green tea, which is consumed as an infusion and so the leaves are discarded. One study found that matcha contains three times more of the catechins called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – an antioxidant linked to fighting cancer, viruses and heart disease – than other standard kinds of green tea. Antioxidants are the body’s defence agents and they help prevent ageing and chronic diseases. The following are all health benefits associated with matcha tea.
1. May Help Prevent Cancer
Research has shown that green tea consumption can reduce
the risk of some cancers. Some of the specific cancers where
risk reduction has been scientifically demonstrated include bladder
cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.
2. Promotes Heart Health
Matcha tea has been shown to be the highest food level source
of catechins, a group of anti-inflammatory antioxidants that help
prevent heart disease. Green tea has also been shown to help lower
LDL cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of stroke and hypertension.
3. High Levels of L-theanine for an Alert Calm
Matcha is said to induce a feeling of alert calm due to its mix of
L-theanine and caffeine. L-theanine is an amino acid that promotes
alpha waves, which lead to a state of relaxed alertness. It has been
shown to benefit people diagnosed with anxiety, enhancing mood
as well as aiding concentration.
4. Recovery from Exercise
Studies suggest that the catechins in matcha tea can help speed
recovery in athletes whose focus is high-intensity workouts, helping
to reduce muscle damage.
Catechins counteract the effects of free radical from the
environment, such as pollution, the sun’s UV rays and chemicals,
which can all cause cell damage.
Lots of delicious recipes that use matcha as the key ingredient in The Matcha Cookbook.